Community LEGO competition brings families closer together

LEGO enthusiasts of all ages showed off their complex creations on Saturday, Jan. 27, at the 12th annual Silver Springs LEGO Competition.

“I try to make it [the Silver Springs competition] a big deal because it is the community in which we live, and I always want my children to have a sense of pride in their neighbourhood,” said Stephen Joo, who has been competing in the competition for four years and judging for the last two, though not in the categories his children are in.

Joo started submitting his children’s pieces, William, 13, James, 11, and Alex, 9, in 2012.

“Even though I am part of an adult LEGO group, I always build my displays with my kids in mind, and will frequently get them to give me their three-to-fourfoot- tall feedback,” said Joo.

The LEGO competition is a real family affair for the Joos, with William and Alex winning first place in their age categories, and James second.The age categories are two to seven, eight to 12, 13 to 17 and adult.

Participants are asked to bring a piece in one of this years four contest categories, which this year are structures, transportation, wild card and cool scenes.

William’s first-place winning creation was a battle scene from the game Plants vs. Zombies.

The oldest Joo child is returning to that theme for this year’s entry, and building the backyard battleground from Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.

The Joo family has a dedicated LEGO room, and Alex, the youngest, estimates they have “way more than a million” pieces.

While this number may be a little high, it’s not necessarily very far off. Joo’s proudest creation is a four-foot re-creation of the colourful house on top of a waterfall from the Disney movie UP.

The project, comprised of tens of thousands of LEGO pieces, including electronics and motors used to make the waterfall move, earned the LEGO aficionado top honours in the adult category at the Silver Springs competition last year.

Sherry Gavlin, the program coordinator at the Silver Springs Community Association, has been involved with the contest for seven years.

She described a cruise liner that was eight feet long and three feet high with details such as escape boats, created by a 12-year-old boy.

“It was pretty incredible,” said Gavlin.

She said about 150 people participate on average every year.

Prizes are awarded for first place, ribbons are given out for second and third places, and everybody is awarded a participation ribbon, something the Joo children displayed with just as much excitement as their first and second place ribbons.

On the day of the event, the four judges, including Joo, awarded ribbons and prizes from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

It is free for the public to view the LEGO creations every year at the Silver Springs Community Association, 5720 Silver Ridge Drive N.W.

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